Beal wants to be a playmaker in year two
Randy Wittman doesn't hesitate to be the bad cop in the locker room.
Ideally, however, he'd much rather his players police themselves on the court.
For this 29-win team a year ago to become playoff-caliber, they have to take criticism from each other. It's something Wittman has preached since training camp.
"The whole goal and the message that we're trying to get across this year is we got to hold each other accountable no matter what," said Martell Webster, who was re-signed to the full mid-level exception in part because of his leadership qualities. "Don't take too much time to explain your reason. Say what you need to your defender or your help-side defense to do and hold them accountable to it. That's what me and Trev (Ariza) been working on. We can't have any excuses. We have a defensive scheme. We have to execute it."
Ariza began last season as the starting small forward, fell injured and was replaced by Webster. He never got the starting job back.
Now it appears that Ariza could have the inside track to the starting job, and Webster's endorsement, in the preseason. Ariza started in the Wizards' opening loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. He won an NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009, and then-coach Phil Jackson was known for letting his team play through rough patches rather than calling timeouts. He wanted them to figure it out because he believed that process made them stronger. Plus, they had the talent to do it.
"None of us have an ego with each other. We just all want to win," Ariza said of the Wizards. "Of course at times you're not going to straight away listen to the advice but you hear it. You take it to heart. Maybe on the next play down you understand what that person has been saying or what everybody's been saying and you build on that and you get better."